Proximity detection highlighted after fatality

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration is spotlighting mobile equipment hazards after one worker was killed last month in a powered haulage incident in Kentucky.
Proximity detection highlighted after fatality Proximity detection highlighted after fatality Proximity detection highlighted after fatality Proximity detection highlighted after fatality Proximity detection highlighted after fatality

An illustration of an October 2010 accident in Kentucky that killed one worker.

Donna Schmidt

James Jeffrey Faulk, a 39-year-old continuous miner helper, was working at Alliance Resource Partners’ River View operation in Union County the morning of October 27 when he was struck by a loaded shuttle car.

“The victim was in the No. 7 entry between crosscuts 37 and 38, repairing a ventilation curtain,” the agency said.

“This entry and adjoining crosscuts were being used to gain access to the ratio feeder, which was located in the No. 6 entry.”

To help prevent similar incidents in the future, MSHA released a series of best practices for US operations, highlighting the installation of proximity detection systems on mobile face equipment.

The agency also encourages the use of reflective clothing and permissible personal flashing lights to ensure high visibility, particularly when working in an area where mobile equipment is in operation.

Visible warning devices should be placed at all entrances to active work areas and travelways, and to increase visibility MSHA urges the use of transparent ventilation curtains. All workers, both pedestrian and operators, should be aware of blind spots when traveling in mobile equipment areas.

Before performing work in active haulage travelways, mobile equipment should cease until that work is completed, with both positions and intended movements to be well communicated to mobile equipment operators.

Additionally, all mobile equipment should maintain safe speeds and audible warnings louder than ambient noise levels should be sounded at any time the operator’s view is obstructed.

MSHA encourages anyone with additional prevention ideas to submit them through its web site, including the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

Faulk was the 46th coal fatality in 2010 and the seventh classified by the agency as powered haulage. The death was the sixth in Kentucky this year.

River View, a room and pillar operation, employs 437 workers.

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